The Latest: US presidential candidates speak on N. Korea

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The Latest on North Korea's launch of a long-range rocket (all times local):

12:05 p.m.

Republican presidential candidates in the U.S. are speaking up about North Korea's rocket launch on Sunday.

Asked how he would respond to North Korea's provocations, Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said he would authorize a pre-emptive strike against such rockets if it was necessary to keep America safe.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz demurred, saying he wouldn't speculate about how he'd handle the situation without a full briefing. And Donald Trump said he'd rely on China to "quickly and surgically" handle North Korea.


11:50 a.m.

Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga says Japan has sent a strong protest to North Korea through their respective embassies in Beijing following North Korea's rocket launch.

He also said that Japan is now considering its own sanctions against Pyongyang. He did not elaborate.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe earlier Sunday sharply criticized North Korea and said that the launch violated existing U.N. resolutions on Pyongyang's use of ballistic missile technology.

Japan and the U.S. have requested an emergency U.N. Security Council session to discuss the situation.


11:15 a.m.

South Korea's government says North Korea will make a special public announcement at noon Pyongyang time following Sunday's rocket launch.

The government in Seoul had no details about what exactly the announcement would contain. But it seemed highly likely that it would focus on the North's rocket launch.


11:05 a.m.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has condemned North Korea's rocket launch as "a flagrant violation of U.N. Security Council Resolutions" related to Pyongyang's use of ballistic missile technology.

Kerry says this is the second time in just over a month that North Korea has chosen to conduct "a major provocation, threatening not only the security of the Korean Peninsula, but that of the region and the United States as well."

He reaffirms Washington's "ironclad commitment to the defense of our allies, including the Republic of Korea and Japan."

He says the U.S. will continue to work with its partners and members of the U.N. Security Council on significant measures to hold North Korea to account.


10:30 a.m.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency is reporting that North Korea's rocket launch may have failed.

The agency provided no other details in a short dispatch.

The South's Defense Ministry says it cannot immediately confirm the report. North Korea successfully put a satellite into orbit in its last launch, in December 2012. But before that Pyongyang suffered a series of failures.


10:10 a.m.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called the North Korean launch and the recent nuclear test violations of U.N. agreements.

He told reports: "We absolutely cannot allow this. We will take action to totally protect the safety and well-being of our people."

The Japanese government says no rocket debris fell on the Japanese territory and there are no reports of damage.


10 a.m.

A South Korean defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of office rules, says the South Korean military was tracking the rocket's trajectory but gave no further details.

He says the launch from the North's west coast launching pad was made between 9:30-9:35 a.m. local time.

Japan's NHK broadcaster reported that the Japanese government said the rocket passed over the southern Japanese island of Okinawa but no anti-missiles were fired.


9:55 a.m.

Japan's national broadcaster NHK broke into normal programming to alert the news of Sunday morning's launch and show live footage of Patriot missile batteries on the island of Okinawa deployed to shoot down any debris that might potentially fall on Japanese territory.

It said the North Korean rocket was launched at 9:31 a.m. Japan time.

The launch Sunday follows North Korea's claim last month to have tested a hydrogen bomb and will likely draw more sanctions and condemnation in the United Nations.